13 Sep

A Prelude to what?…..

As with all good stories, the agenda for planned legislative changes usually come with a prelude.  We are carefully fed information, spin, call it what you will, with the intention of softening the blow and justifying the change.  The less well informed citizen will no doubt see the benefits of the legislation, for example, “Why should I mind if the Police have a sample of my DNA?  After all, I have nothing to hide”.  That may appear a valid argument unless you apply circumstance to the general proposition.  What if it were 1920, you live in Germany and are Jewish, or Gay?  There are few, prima facia, philosophically positive positions which can’t be challenged with a conflicting argument.  Habeas Corpus is a necessity for justice; period……

So, What’s in the Pipeline?…..

Following the riots there has been a lot of discussion about Social Networking and the role it is alleged to have played in their organisation.  I am only aware of one conviction in which it featured.  In that case the accused did not take part in any rioting, nor did their actions lead to any.  I would have assumed that if Social Networking did contribute to the organisation of the riots, it would have been widely reported and the people responsible would have received a significant period of detention.  There have been other issues over the past few years which add to the undercurrent of the debate, which is censorship and control of the internet, in the name of enhancing our security…… 

To achieve an effective monitoring system for the World Wide Web, I can envisage some form of personal logon, which would work in a similar way to internet banking, email or the way in which many people logon when they get to work.  This would allow, by virtue of registration with an authority, your traffic to be effectively screened and your identity and location known.  If you apply the “DNA” scenario to this proposition, I think it adequately demonstrates why any proposal to pass a legislation to ‘protect’ us from crime in this way, is another dangerous undermining of a basic right to freedom……

Covert Operations……

We have recently been made aware of the resources the Police allocated to the infiltration of the environmental group from Nottingham.  An undercover Police Officer spent seven years working undercover at a cost of £250,000 per year, has been described as an ‘agent provocateur’ and ‘facilitator’, resulting in a judicial shambles in which all charges were dropped and convictions overturned.  This was only brought to the attention of the press when the PO offered his services to the defence team, highlighting the failure of the prosecution to disclose evidence, undermining the right to know why you are being accused.  The fact that a small environmental group, consisting of 100 members is considered worthy of such resources is remarkable.  You can only imagine the effort, man-power and funds the government will assign to ‘higher’ priorities……


The technology exists to scan email, SMS messages and voice calls for ‘keywords’.  The keywords can be anything which could be considered ‘of interest’, for example; ‘blast’.  Supposing you had this technology at your disposal and were looking for a potential terrorist, if the word ‘blast’ appeared in a message it could be flagged up.  Supposing that you went out on Saturday night and had a ‘blast’, this would be of no benefit.  However, would you want all of your personal communications to be monitored in this manner?…..

“Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you…”

You have been warned!


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